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Originally Posted by GM4Him
Ah, but it isn't. Shar's symbol is supposed to be well-known in Faerun; feared and hated by most good citizens. If a character encounters another character who is wearing a big ginormous black circle on their chest and shoulder pads and on a circlet on their forehead, and they say, "I'm a cleric," I think it's pretty obvious who that person is a cleric of.

Now, if Shadowheart wasn't wearing a ginormous black circle on her chest and shoulder pads and circlet, and she was just wearing the same armor without all that stuff, no one would think she's a servant of Shar. But, come on, it's like a big freaking target on her screaming, "Hi, I'm a Sharite cleric." It'd be like someone wearing a cross on their chest, shoulder pads and forehead and then someone later going, "Holy Cow! What? You're a Christian? I had no idea. Huh? Seriously? You're a Christian Priest? Whoa!"

I think you're underestimating how incredibly generic a black circle is, to start. It's not the same thing as a cross in a world where that's the symbol of the biggest religion in the world, consisting of over 2 billion people.

But also, there aren't any black circles on her shoulder pads. Not on the actual armor she's wearing in the game. I believe you're thinking of her artwork depiction.

And the one on her chest isn't just a black circle. It also has what looks to be a gold filigree design in the middle of it.

As for her circlet, how many pieces of jewelry do you think have black circle designs? Every piece with a black pearl. Every piece with onyx. You're just not being realistic about it, in my opinion. If you found a black onyx ring in some treasure loot, your first thought probably wouldn't be that it came from a worshiper of Shar.

Again, and this is just my opinion, but I strongly feel like this is an example of people feeling clever after the fact, saying they would've known.

It's like, if you find a chair with intricate leaf symbols carved into the armrests then you would think it was a design. You wouldn't think a druid made the chair. Until it was later revealed that a druid made the chair. And then there'd be a certain percentage of people jumping up and down assuring everyone they knew all along, 'cause of the leaf designs on the armrest, of course!

Shrug. Just my opinion. But people sure do seem to be a lot more observant in hindsight.

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Originally Posted by Veilburner
Not that I disagree with that. But people wear crosses and cross necklaces and they aren't Christian necessarily.

True but I doubt if you see this guy you would have any reasonable doubt that he is a christian cleric rather than a muslim imam
[Linked Image from upload.wikimedia.org]

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I'm pretty sure that, in the Forgotton Realms jewellers don't just make "generic black circle" jewellery, because they'd be lynched as Sharrans by outraged citizens.

I expect that folks are really very careful not to give offense or acidentally identify with a faith they aren't part of because in the Forgoton Realms gods are real and real arseholes about things like that!

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Clerics in game are largely not hugely developed and the brief blurb which describes the various gods in character creation is insufficient and rudimentary.

Clerics perhaps have some of the most strictures on behaviors and actions that might lead them to fall out of favor with their god but there is none of that here.

Shadowheart’s revelation aren’t hugely remarkable in light of the other characters backstories, which are all pretty edgy.

It is obvious she is a cleric of a shadow deity from the get go. What is not obvious at all is when Tav is.

Absolutely no one comments on Tav being a cleric, and it rarely is brought up at all. I find this too bad, since it seems to be a interesting way to develop relationships between the various characters.

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Originally Posted by Umbra
I'm pretty sure that, in the Forgotton Realms jewellers don't just make "generic black circle" jewellery, because they'd be lynched as Sharrans by outraged citizens.

I expect that folks are really very careful not to give offense or acidentally identify with a faith they aren't part of because in the Forgoton Realms gods are real and real arseholes about things like that!

I'm pretty sure that you don't have a source for that.

In fact, I'm also pretty sure that I can point to treasure in Forgotten Realms canon adventures that contain jewelry, things like rings and necklaces, fashioned from numerous black stones. And I'll guarantee some of them even stipulate round.

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i can't take the "it's just a generic black circle" seriously. She has them all over her outfit. She is named SHADOWHEART. She has an obvious "deep dark secret". she gets angry about Selune. Are we just pretending that our characters are stupid? Because that is what it would take not to recognize who she really is at first glance.

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Originally Posted by Niara
It's kind of odd that you don't get any dialogue options to comment when the character rants about how deceitful, worthless, nasty and useless Selune is - when in a world of present and active deities, and true tangible good and evil (celestials and fiends etc.), it's empirically known and established that Selune is an overwhelmingly good deity - greater deity, in fact, known the realms over for being a good deity, a champion of life and knowledge, and proven so.

But we can't say "Hey, um... you're, ah, a bit misinformed there, friend.. you've been a bit lied to, perhaps..." That option is absent, and it's weird.
Hope you dont mind, but i steal this to missing dialogue options threat. :P


Short coment on my English. smile

Anyway ... i cast Eldritch Blast!
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Originally Posted by Boblawblah
i can't take the "it's just a generic black circle" seriously. She has them all over her outfit. She is named SHADOWHEART. She has an obvious "deep dark secret". she gets angry about Selune. Are we just pretending that our characters are stupid? Because that is what it would take not to recognize who she really is at first glance.

No. For starters, I think people would ask as I mentioned earlier. It seems weird to have a cleric in the party without the cleric mentioning the deity.

But also, what cleric of Shar would wear their symbol on their chest, right in your face?

Saying you'd recognize a warrior in the crusades from a cross on the chest is one thing. They did that sort of thing. But a cleric of Shar wearing an open symbol in public? Not the same thing. Not at all.

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Originally Posted by JandK
But also, what cleric of Shar would wear their symbol on their chest, right in your face?

uh..is this a trick question? We have one in our party.

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Originally Posted by Boblawblah
Originally Posted by JandK
But also, what cleric of Shar would wear their symbol on their chest, right in your face?

uh..is this a trick question? We have one in our party.

In general... meaning this, I don't think the average person has any idea what the Shar symbol looks like. It's probably a DC on a roll to figure out. Because Shar worshipers don't go around flaunting that they're Shar worshipers.

I would also guess that it's *typically* out of character for a Shar worshiper to wear their symbol so publicly.

Again, I think the average person, not even knowing the Shar symbol, would see a black circle of onyx and think jewelry.

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Originally Posted by JandK
In general... meaning this, I don't think the average person has any idea what the Shar symbol looks like. It's probably a DC on a roll to figure out. Because Shar worshipers don't go around flaunting that they're Shar worshipers.

I would also guess that it's *typically* out of character for a Shar worshiper to wear their symbol so publicly.

Again, I think the average person, not even knowing the Shar symbol, would see a black circle of onyx and think jewelry.
Or possibly, because Shar worshippers are supposed to be secretive and don't wear their symbols publicly, people would see SH and just think she's being edgy. "She obviously can't be a true Shar worshipper; she's way too conspicuous! She obviously worships another god and just wants you to think she's cool and worships Shar."

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Originally Posted by Eddiar
So I am new to D&D lore and honestly I think one of the earliest scenes of the game really assumes way too much of my knowledge of the D&D gods.

When a certain character's religious beliefs are exposed our character seems to have either the "I don't care" response or the interesting "you lied to me!" and even more interesting response "Leave! I wont associate with Sharrans"

But the game doesn't explain what the big frigging deal is! How did this character lie? At no point did they say they worshiped another god or anyone explain to me what the big deal is. Why should I care? What's the down side? I mean compared to a Gith who will murder me if I sneeze funny or literal vampire. Who cares?

I also was not familiar with any of the D&D God, lore etc either, but have found this "Forgotten Realms" website to be an invaluable resource in bringing me up to speed.


Forgotten Realms

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All right. You know what? I stand corrected. I'm willing to admit that I'm wrong. I read someone's comments at some point that said that she was wearing the symbol of Shar on her starter armor, and I think I just accepted that and thought, "That's dumb." Then I began to associate the starter armor with that picture on the title screens. Which, if they're trying to create a "Is she a cleric of whoever?" mystery they need to take some of those images down. It really creates spoilers.

But, anyway, upon further examining the armor at length, it occurred to me that you are absolutely right. The armor isn't displaying Shar's symbols at all. It is a black circle with golden lines that almost looks like the symbol of Lathander. It looks like a rising sun between two hills. The circlet also just has a black onyx gemstone.

But Shar's symbol specifically is that of a black disk with a deep purple border. Shadowheart is not wearing anything like that at all. Interesting.

Still, back on topic, it would be good for there to be some dialogue. "What deity do you serve?"

"I serve Lathander, the Sun God," Shadowheart replies gesturing at the symbol on her chest. "The golden lines symbolize how the sun's rays cut through the shadows of night."

Then new players would accept her as a cleric of Lathander and then be surprised when they find out she's not. Then, at some point, when Shar and Selune are being discussed, BEFORE the Shadowheart secret reveal, Shar should be explained as an evil goddess of trickery and deception and of darkness and loss. Her cult is terrible, and they have abused people for centuries on end. They are secretive and little is truly known about their ways. They are very dangerous, and so on and so forth.

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Originally Posted by GM4Him
Still, back on topic, it would be good for there to be some dialogue. "What deity do you serve?"

"I serve Lathander, the Sun God," Shadowheart replies gesturing at the symbol on her chest. "The golden lines symbolize how the sun's rays cut through the shadows of night."

Then new players would accept her as a cleric of Lathander and then be surprised when they find out she's not. Then, at some point, when Shar and Selune are being discussed, BEFORE the Shadowheart secret reveal, Shar should be explained as an evil goddess of trickery and deception and of darkness and loss. Her cult is terrible, and they have abused people for centuries on end. They are secretive and little is truly known about their ways. They are very dangerous, and so on and so forth.

Strongly agree.

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Originally Posted by JandK
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
Originally Posted by JandK
But also, what cleric of Shar would wear their symbol on their chest, right in your face?

uh..is this a trick question? We have one in our party.

In general... meaning this, I don't think the average person has any idea what the Shar symbol looks like. It's probably a DC on a roll to figure out. Because Shar worshipers don't go around flaunting that they're Shar worshipers.

So when we go into the crypt where the skeleton NPC is, in the room right outside him, we make a religion check to see if we spot that it's Jergal's

Why is not each companion and us not making a religion check when we meet Shadowheart to see if we can guess who her goddess is?

You can tell that whoever working on the story for BG3 is not that good. You would think with all the money they are spending on BG3, they would have hired some good writers.

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The FR setting has struggled with how to handle this aspect of the lore since its invention.

The problem is that the gameworld often treats polytheism in Faerun as if this was Babylon, or Ancient Greece or pre-christian Rome. In other words, a system that is already highly polyglot with layers of compomise and synchronicity built up. For the Ancient Greeks at a later stage, the Olympians represented things like emmotional states, social roles, or certain stages of life. Sure they still had cults and priests with temples, ritual observances and stories to relay their petty jealousies, but everyone knows what is meant. "The gods" at that point are complex etiologies for explaining common emotions or mundane phenomena. They've already developed at that point way beyond the sort of singular nationalist or local dieties that expressed more common tribal identities, or local identities in competition with other outside tribes all vying for dominance. Already morphed into a big shared family of beliefs by then. To put it another way, Polytheism was already Imperial by then.

Poseidon the Earth Shaker has already arrived, to stand alongside Athena, and they both have to be dealt with and worked into the fold. Zdeus is already at the head of the Pantheon as the All Pater, cause the centaurs are already enthroned. The warlords on horseback are already running shit and we're pretty far along at that point.

But Faerun isn't like that. If it were, everyone would worship and acknowledge Shar, every time they told a secret or wished to learn one. Instead Faerun is more like that earlier conception, except with one super important exception that completely distinguishes the Realms from the real world - and that's the that gods in Faerun are actually real, and visable, and intercede in mortal affairs without having to shroud it all in etiology and metaphor. We don't have to "believe" in their reality or in their miracles here, because its on full display. With a whole repertoire of associated spells and powers granted to their followers.

Believing in the gods of Faerun doesn't make one gullible or vulgar, instead its pretty rational and sensible given the context. This is why its so odd that a developer who achieved fame for making games with the word Divinity in the titles, wouldn't lean into this stuff a bit more?

I think they should do our FR Olympus not as metaphor or etiology but as reality. Basically just like Clash of the Titans or Jason and the Argonauts. The player should see the gods! That doesn't necessarily mean that the character needs a vision or visitation, (though you'd think that might help) but the player should at least get one. We should see a god early on, so we know it's for real, and have plenty of reasons to pick a team and fret off what might happen if we don't. We should be getting all tangled up in their affairs right from the getgo.

Here's a thought, when the player calls out Shadowheart and blasphemes against Shar, she should immediately demonstrate Shar's power and hit us with a guiding bolt that throws off a divine cutscene.

Shar's story then appears to us, thrown in stark relief, with some high drama and high stakes. And if the PC doesn't have some backup from another diety they've already chosen, then Selune should get involved and throw them a lifeline. Perhaps Shar blinds them and whispers in their ear how she won't be denied! all power acrues to Shar! As the scene envelopes in pitch. But then Selune intercedes, restores the players sight with moonlight. And says something else about it. So the player isn't confused, and it's all made pretty crystal fucking clear... in this world of the Forgotten Realms, religion isn't hyperbole or metaphor, it's life and death!
It's for real!

I just think that would be a better approach and make things a lot more dynamic down the road and they would be able to make better use of the established lore. So the player is brought up to speed with where their character is supposed to be at concerning all this stuff.

The way it is now, its like those silly stories where the protagonist character is being confronted by demons or ghosts or aliens or whatever, and yet still stubornly refuses to acknowledge the situation. "But I don't believe in those!" Even though they just watched one eat their friends and family lol. Everyone finds that character annoying. Like wake up and get with the program character! The only thing more annoying is when such a character regresses after the fact. Like where the don't believe initially, but then do after an epiphany, but then don't again later, trying to convince themselves it was all in their head. When it clearly wasn't. The game should avoid that trope, since its so tired. Its ok for the narrator/audience/villainous antagonist to be two steps ahead of the protagonist character, but once the protagonist is clued in, they should move forward and not backtrack just so the audience can groan about how stubborn and stupid the protagonist is being hehe

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Originally Posted by Merry Mayhem
Originally Posted by JandK
Originally Posted by Boblawblah
Originally Posted by JandK
But also, what cleric of Shar would wear their symbol on their chest, right in your face?

uh..is this a trick question? We have one in our party.

In general... meaning this, I don't think the average person has any idea what the Shar symbol looks like. It's probably a DC on a roll to figure out. Because Shar worshipers don't go around flaunting that they're Shar worshipers.

So when we go into the crypt where the skeleton NPC is, in the room right outside him, we make a religion check to see if we spot that it's Jergal's

Why is not each companion and us not making a religion check when we meet Shadowheart to see if we can guess who her goddess is?

You can tell that whoever working on the story for BG3 is not that good. You would think with all the money they are spending on BG3, they would have hired some good writers.

that's what's so contrived about it. Apparently religion checks are a thing until they aren't, because our tsundere girl needs to have a big secret and reveal

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Black_Elk, nice post.

To me, the way I play it, using a Dwarven War Priest of mine who worships Clangeddin Silverbeard as an example. In the morning, when I wake up, I say prays to Clangeddin, asking him to grant me a bit of his might. When I am casting spells with verbal components, there a quick pray, like, Spiritual Weapon would be me saying "Clangeddin, lend me you Axe!" When we get to a new town, I ask if there is any Dwarven shrines or temples so I can check in. What I am saying is anyone who adventuring with me for a day or two is going to know who I am a Cleric too.

I have no issue with Shadowheart having secrets but lets put her in gray robes at the start, have her hide her armor, have her muttering her prays and verbal spell components. Have her act like she keeping a secret instead of depending on us being an unobservant idiot.

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Shadowheart really could do with being a lot more subtle, as is if I was DMing BGIII I wouldn't event require a religion check to figure out what she's a cleric of when the party meets her if the player in question was also a cleric* and would give a fairly low one for everyone else. Shar is probably *the* most well know evil god(dess) in the setting. Any cleric walking around with that regalia, with that name, and talking the way she does (particularly in regards to Selune)....you are way past foreshadowing (ha) at that point.

There was a suggestion that she change her outfit into her Sharran regalia only after being uncovered-I think that's a good start. There was IIRC a datamined hairstyle for her that replaced her hair cuff with a leather cord. Have her start with that and some more generic armor or the armor of a priest of another faith that she could be in disguise as.

*Honestly Clerics should autopass or have reduced DCs or advantage on a lot of Religion checks. Recognizing basic things like holy symbols or the trappings of major faiths should be an entry-level requirement for a lot of organized religion in the Realms.

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